Grace period to pay electricity bills; guidelines to calculate bills on pro-rata basis

May 14, 2020 (LBO) – The Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL), Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) have taken steps to ensure fairness for electricity consumers in issuing monthly electricity bills and allowing a grace period to pay the monthly bills.

The guidelines prepared by the PUCSL set forth in this regard will be implemented by the CEB and LECO.

The guidelines were prepared to calculate the electricity bills according to the number of electricity units (pro-rata basis) received at concessionary rates, despite the delay in issuance of bills and to provide a sufficient time period to settle the electricity bills.

Proposals made by CEB and LECO as well as complaints by some of the electricity consumers were taken into consideration when preparing the guidelines.

The CEB and LECO have been providing electricity to the electricity consumers continuously during the quarantine period even though the electricity bills were not issued and paid accordingly.

The financial condition of these institutions needs to be restored in order to provide uninterrupted quality electricity supply in the future.

The PUCSL state that the electricity consumers can support the financial situation of these organization by paying promptly for the bills that have already been issued for delayed months.

The following recommendations are implemented for preparing bills that come under quarantine curfew time period, to ensure maximum justice is provided for consumers.

  1. All bills issued after the quarantine curfew commences and after the final reading of the meter must be issued on a monthly basis and as separate bills for each month, confirming the entitlement of the concessionary rate for the electricity units (prorate basis).
  2. The grace period given to the consumer to pay the separate bills issued to them will be published by CEB and LECO. Accordingly, there will be no disconnection of electricity with regard to the payment of these bills until the relevant grace period and conditions are announced.
  3. The time gap between the last meter reading and the next meter reading can be more than one billing cycle. Therefore, the total consumption (units of electricity) for that period will be divided equally for each billing period or month (Confirming prorate basis or concessionary electricity tariff) when issuing bills. With that, the total electricity units consumed by the electricity consumer within a few months can be adjusted and separated for each month in a reasonable manner when preparing bills. In the meantime, some customers may have already received an estimated bill without proper reading of the meter. If there is a difference between the units of electricity in the estimated bill and the number of units issued after reading the meter, that difference will be revised after the next bill is read. The consumer will be informed if there are such amendments.
  4. Electricity connections will not be disconnected in the event of complaints regarding current or future bills that have been issued until the issuance of the bills properly on time. CEB and LECO will resolve such consumer complaints expeditiously. The consumer can also refer their problem to the PUCSL, in the event that the consumer does not agree with the solution provided regarding their electricity bill complaint.

Example of pro-rata basis of confirming the concessionaries that the consumer receives

If the electricity consumption is 120 units for a period of two months, the first 60 units will be charged Rs. 2.50 and the second 60 units will be charged at Rs. 4.85. Accordingly, the fixed rate for each month will be Rs. 60 totalling to Rs.120.

When bills are issued for two months or more simultaneously, the total amount applicable for each month must be communicated to the electricity consumer separately in two bills.

As per the above example, the fee for the first month will be Rs. 280.50 and for the next month, the charges should be Rs. Rs. 280.50. The grace period to pay the bills will also be communicated to the consumer.

Electricity consumer who uses up to 60 units per month will be charged as follows when issuing electricity bills for two months at once.

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